Demon Slayer: To the Swordsmith Village Showcases Season 3’s Terrifying Villains

Demon Slayer: To the Swordsmith Village is a compilation film that stitches together the end of season 2's Entertainment District Arc with the beginning of season 3's Swordsmith Village Arc.

Demon Slayer: To the Swordsmith Village is a fantastic theatrical experience for fans of the anime, assuming that you know what you’re getting into. The compilation film stitches together the excellent final two episodes of 2022’s Entertainment District Arc, as well as the first episode of the upcoming season 3’s Swordsmith Village storyline. While that means it doesn’t pack the narrative punch of the wholly original Mugen Train film, I loved seeing the gorgeous animation of season 2’s final battle on the big screen, and witnessing the board set for what’s to come has me thrilled for Tanjiro’s next adventure.

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While To the Swordsmith Village has only a single episode of fresh story in its runtime, it made the most out of every minute of it. Things kick off with a standout extended sequence inside the Infinity Castle, the mysterious palace that houses the series’s main villain Muzan Kibutsuji and his Upper Rank demons. Here, we were finally introduced to the five most powerful of them, and throughout a single scene, it felt like the course for the rest of the anime was laid out.

I loved being able to spend a brief amount of time with each of the demons, getting a taste of their personalities and powers, while trying to deduce the kinds of dangers they’ll bring to our heroes.

Demon Slayer: To the Swordsmith Village is a compilation film that stitches together the end of season 2's Entertainment District Arc with the beginning of season 3's Swordsmith Village Arc.

The boisterous Gyokko is Upper Five, complete with various arms sticking out from his head and his facial features entirely rearranged. Upper Four is Hantengu, who hides his malformed body on a staircase and seems in a constant state of fear of Muzan Kibutsuji. Akaza, Upper Three, is our point-of-view character for most of this scene, which makes sense given that we’ve spent time with him before in Mugen Train as the demon who barely escaped with his life. Doma is the unnervingly cheerful Upper Two, whom we know was responsible for originally turning the main villain siblings of the Entertainment District Arc into demons. And finally there’s Kokushibo, Upper One and right hand to Muzan. His terrifying calm and composure is only matched by the mysterious ties he seems to have to Tanjiro.

Seeing the antagonists for the rest of the series laid out before us and watching them bounce off one another is one of my favorite anime moments in quite some time. Not only are the writing and performances excellent, but the CG animation at play in the Infinity Castle is a spectacular sight, especially on the big screen. While 3D CGI can fall flat if used incorrectly (like it was in the first episode of this year’s Nier: Automata adaptation), Demon Slayer proves once again that the team at Ufotable are some of the best in the business.

From there, the remainder of the story shifts back to Tanjiro awakening after a two-month coma following his injuries in the Entertainment District finale. This sequence highlights Demon Slayer’s ability to oscillate between serious horror and cheerful slapstick, a tightrope that few other stories are able to walk so adeptly.

It was intriguing to see the formula shaken up, with Zenitsu and Inosuke going on their own adventures while Tanjiro and Nezuko set off for the hidden Swordsmith Village in order to repair Tanjiro’s chipped blade. I loved the secrecy used to get the pair to the sanctuary, and the sight of the serene enclave tucked away in the mountains was a far cry from the lights and noise of the previous season. The peace and tranquility of the place is going to make it all the harder when the demons we met earlier in the episode inevitably descend on it.

That said, Tanjiro won’t be alone, as he’ll be paired with a new set of Hashira that we’ve only spent a brief amount of time with in the past, and given how well the past two arcs built up their respective Hashira allies, I’m looking forward to discovering the depth of these new ones.

Demon Slayer: To the Swordsmith Village is a compilation film that stitches together the end of season 2's Entertainment District Arc with the beginning of season 3's Swordsmith Village Arc.

Demon Slayer: Mugen Train was one of the first movies that I saw back in theaters after the pandemic, and given that it ended up grossing over $500 million worldwide, I wasn’t alone. And as I sat in the theater again watching To the Swordsmith Village, I couldn’t help but think about how great it would be to have the opportunity to see more standout episodes of my favorite anime and TV series as theatrical experiences, from the end of Attack on Titan to the season finale of HBO’s The Last of Us.

While I doubt that will be happening anytime soon, I’m glad that Demon Slayer: To the Swordsmith Village gave me another chance to see Ufotable’s fantastic animation on the big screen. It reminded me of just how great the Entertainment District Arc was and left me anxiously awaiting what will happen throughout the rest of season 3.

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Author
Marty Sliva
Marty Sliva was the Deputy Editor of The Escapist. He's been writing and hosting videos about games, movies, television, and popular culture since 2011, and was with The Escapist from 2019 until 2023. In a perfect world, he'd be covering Zelda, Persona, and the hit TV series Lost on a daily basis.